TOURIST arrival in Balik Pulau is expected go up by 25% by the end of the year.
Northern Corridor Implementation Authority (NCIA) Education and Human Capital division director Jariyah Hashim said the ‘I Stay@Balik Pulau’ programme would strengthen tourism activities in the township.
“It’s a two-year programme initiated by us with the help of Universiti Sains Malaysia.
“The programme will see parti-cipants taking part in workshops on entrepreneurship, marketing and strategic planning,” she said.
Jariyah said 20 homestay operators and 30 entrepreneurs from Jalan Baru and Pulau Betong would be participating in the ‘Knowledge Transfer Programme’ from February to July.
“This will be the first stage of the programme,” she said atthe programme’s launching cere- mony in Dataran Tok Sudin, Balik Pulau recently.
Jariyah added that a calendar of events for Balik Pulau would be distributed to hotels, shopping complexes, tourist kiosks and also at the Penang International Airport’s Information Centre.
“We have also launched the www.istaybalikpulau.com website for tourists and locals to get more insights of the activities in Balik Pulau,” she said.
Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahya who launched the ‘I Stay@Balik Pulau’ programme, said the BP Express or Balik Pulau Express, a combination of a motorcycle and sidecar, would soon be the mode of transport for the locals and tourists alike in the area.
“We have created a prototype of a motorcycle and a sidecar which costs less than RM10,000.
“We hope to obtain approval from the Road Transport Depart-ment in the near future,” he said.
Dr Hilmi called for a call centre to be set up for visitors who needed help in areas like Teluk Kumbar, Balik Pulau, Teluk Bahang and Bayan Lepas.
“We have yet to decide where the call centre should be set up,” he said.
Also present were Pulau Betong assemblyman Muhamad Farid Saad, Bayan Lepas assemblyman Nordin Ahmad, USM vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Omar Osman and NCIA director of operations and special functions Farid Wajidi.